How to choose the perfect wedding photographer…
Updated: Mar 21, 2021
.........that is right for you.
As you relax on your honeymoon, hopefully having the most amazing time with your new spouse, you still have one of the most exciting things to look forward to when you get back; your professional wedding photos!
An array of cherished memories and moments you can look back on forever, of you and your spouse looking and feeling like a million dollars. So how do we choose the perfect wedding photographer?
Firstly, recommendations and testimonials
The best place to start is social media; join a few local Facebook groups, or local to where you are getting married. You will most likely get loads of comments with recommendations and feedback, which is great, but it can also feel quite overwhelming. It doesn't hurt to ask to see some of their own wedding photos either as you will find photographers vary in style.
You can also check with your wedding planner or venue to see if they have personal recommendations or preferred suppliers from previous weddings they have been involved with. Make sure you read through lots of testimonials, as you will want to know who was thrilled with the end result.
Photographers will differ in what their packages include; some will offer digital photos plus prints (either single prints or a photo album, sometimes with smaller parents’ albums included), others may offer only the digital prints. Make sure you are clear on what the packages include before you put down your deposit and compare prices. Ask to see examples of photo books they have put together for previous clients.
You also want to try and filter out recommendations from those who are simply recommending their friends. Have they actually used that photographer personally and been happy with the result?
What makes a good photographer?
Having a good camera does not necessarily make a good photographer; it is how it is used and what is created; the magic moments that are brought to life. A good photographer will understand lighting and the environment you are in, capturing the moment and emotion in one shot. They will also seek to understand you as a couple, your personalities and how to bring this out in the photos. Some couples may want to have some very playful photos whereas others will want romance. You may have a list of specific shots in mind that you want your photographer to capture, or you may not have a clue what shots you want. A good photographer will listen to your brief whilst maintaining their own style and using their professional expertise to bring your vision to the photos.
You need to assess your venue; is it open and light? Make sure you see a sample of your photographer's album at a similar venue setting as yours so you get a sense for how your photos may turn out. If you know your venue is particularly dark or if you're getting married in winter, look for similar weddings to see how a photographer has shot them. Needless to say, you should be happy with what you find!
Some photographers may have been taking photos for years, but have only recently started capturing weddings. This doesn't have to be a deal breaker, but it is good to know and should be reflected in the price. A new wedding photographer should be honest with you about their past experience, even if it is more limited than others and be willing to offer a discounted price in return for you helping to build up their portfolio and gain wedding experience.
This is so important. What is their back up plan if they are unwell, there is an emergency or they cannot make it on the day for an unforeseen reason? Ask the question; they should have a network of contacts that they trust that may be able to step in last minute. Make sure they have a plan B, just in case. It also doesn’t hurt for you to get a second photographer (perhaps a family member or friend with a good camera) on standby in case the worst happens on the day.
Above all, make sure you choose the photographer that is perfect for you and your vision.
Like with most things when it comes to your wedding, you will get a gut feeling when you meet the right one.
Your wedding, your style.
You are looking for consistency; you want to make sure the style you love flows through the whole wedding album. Be clear with your photographer about your style and brief right from the offset.
Lastly, build a rapport
Once you have looked at a few websites or portfolios, it’s time to pick a couple of your favourites and meet up. Don't forget, your photographer will spend the majority of the wedding day with you, so it’s very important you get on from the very start. You may find you want to set a place for your photographer so that they can have some food and drink during the wedding breakfast or evening buffet. Some photographers may prefer to bring their own food and drink and eat alone. Agree a time that they will leave; if you want them to stay on to capture you and your guests dancing the night away, they may charge extra the longer you ask them to stay.
(A good little tip; ask your photographer what their most favourite wedding shot is. This will give you a good idea of their own personal style and personality.)
Try to not let the price scare you; averaging around £800 and going into thousands, you will find what you are looking for, but make sure to do your research! A cheap photographer doesn’t always mean you will get the best result.
Wedding photography isn’t just about a few stunning photos, it is about a beautiful story.
“Choose someone whose work you love. Your wedding photographs will be with you forever. It’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s true – the photographs are the one thing left after your wedding. They will be there to remind you of one of the most important days in your life. I’d also recommend finding someone personable who is going to treat you well and put your interests first. As much as I love wedding photography I’m aware that it is their wedding, not my photo shoot.”
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